Verse > Anthologies > Walter Murdoch, comp. > The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse
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Walter Murdoch (1874–1970).  The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse.  1918.
 
193. The Pool
 
By Fritz S. Burnell
 
 
BESIDE the pale water
  Linger chapman and churl;
Prince, poet; boy and girl;
Harlot and king’s daughter.
 
Over the dark hedge climb        5
White stars like roses:
Dark hedge that encloses
The dusty road of Time.
 
Herein all men
Gaze, as in a glass,        10
Awhile; then pass
Down the long road again,
 
Murmuring a vague surmise,
A bitter word, or a jest:
With head sunken on breast;        15
Or erect, with shining eyes.…
 
For, as upon their way
They stoop to drink
Beside the reedy brink,
They see in the water grey,        20
 
Some, their own idle faces;
Some, ripples that die
Stilly, mysteriously,
Of an unseen wind the traces;
 
Some, but the slime below,        25
Black and rotting; some,
Only the idle scum
Drifting to and fro.
 
But some, with clearer view,
In the pool’s heart behold        30
Bright stars manifold,
And God’s arched heaven blue.…
 
To the grey pool all men
Come, one by one, to drink
Awhile at its reedy brink,        35
And tread the road again.…
 

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